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Best Characters in The Last of Us Part II: No Return

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The Last of Us Part II: No Return poster

No Return is a new roguelike mode added to the recently released remastered version of The Last of Us Part II. It lines up randomized encounters, some of which are gruesome to beat in one round. With just one life per run, you’ll want to unlock the best characters with playstyles, traits, and equipment that stand out. By the end of No Return, previously inaccessible characters will be up for grabs, summing up to 10 different characters total. So, inevitably, picking the best characters to take you across the finish line can prove to be a bit of a challenge. With these best characters in The Last of Us Part II: No Return, though, you should have an easier time beating the mode, easy peasy.

5. Manny

MANNY IS STRAIGHT UP NASTY | NO RETURN | The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered

Every character in No Return has some compromise, whether less powerful starting equipment or a lack of a vital trait. For Manny, you’ll have to make do without a health kit recipe, which, for context, every other character in No Return has. But in place of his healing shortcomings is a powerful tank build you’ll want by your side.

Manny comes with 150% maximum health, helping buff damage intake for longer periods. He also comes with 50% more parts, which comes in handy when upgrading your starting weapons. Not only that, he can also craft his own semi-auto rifle ammunition. It helps you craft a ton of firepower to take down hordes of enemies. The hunting pistol, in particular, works perfectly on non-base enemies like shamblers and clickers.  

If health proves too big of an issue, you can brave the mode just long enough to unlock a mid-run healing recipe. Otherwise, survive for as long as possible on any healing items you find.

Starting Weapons: Hunting Pistol, Semi-Auto Rifle

Playstyle: Armory

Traits: 50% More Parts, 150% Max Health, No Health Kit Recipe, Semi-Auto Rifle Ammo Recipe, Munitions Upgrade Branch

4. Yara

The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered - Yara Gameplay

On her own, Yara can be a bit of a liability. However, she comes paired up with her younger brother, Lev, as an AI companion who elevates her skills commendably. At the start, you may struggle a bit to catch up. Often, you’ll rely on Lev to get you out of tricky encounters. 

As you progress, though, you’ll unlock the Ally Upgrade Branch. It gives you access to additional weapons and recipes that will come in handy moving forward. So, ultimately, the trick is to survive just long enough to unlock the Ally Upgrade Branch trait, which then brings the duo up to speed. 

Starting Weapons: Semi-Auto Pistol

Playstyle: Teamwork

Traits: Yara & Lev Pair, Ally Upgrade Branch

3. Joel

The Last of Us 2 Remastered - Full Joel No Return Gameplay Walkthrough (S Rank)

On the other hand, Joel’s starting equipment is the most generous. He starts with three weapons, including a custom revolver and a shiv. For the immense, powerful firepower he gets at the start of the run, Joel has some considerable detriments you’ll want to consider. Like his brother Tommy, Joel cannot dodge. 

Joel fits perfectly into stealth encounters thanks to the Shiv as a starting weapon and the freedom to upgrade its power via the Shiv Recipe Upgrade Branch. You can sneak up on enemies and pick them off one by one. You can also take on enemies at close range, thanks to an upgraded melee weapon and a stronger melee trait. 

In fact, Joel’s custom revolver may be the most powerful starting weapon around. However, in encounters with hordes of enemies and the inability to dodge, Joel can easily get overwhelmed ‘to no return.’

Starting Weapons: Custom Revolver, Upgraded Melee Weapon, Shiv

Playstyle: Unstoppable

Traits: Custom Revolver, Sturdier Against Melee, Can’t Dodge, Shiv Recipe, Shiv Upgrade Branch

2. Jesse

The Last of Us 2 Remastered No Return Jesse Gameplay 4K No Commentary

Jesse is among the first few characters to unlock in No Return, which is perfect as he’s one of the most universal characters around. He comes with a military pistol equipped with a silencer, which makes all the difference in stealth missions. Additionally, he has the best perks at the Trading Post, with the option to scoop up unique gear. 

What’s more? Jesse earns significantly more currency to not only buy unique items no other character can access but also buy more items. In that regard, Jesse is the most resourceful character and has the most leeway to craft better weapons and gear. It’ll, of course, depend on your strategy. Scoop up the best weapons and gear, and you should have a high chance of survival.

Starting Weapons: Military Pistol (w/Silencer), Pipe Bomb

Playstyle: Resourceful

Traits: 30% More Currency, Unique Items at Trading Post, Silencer Recipe, Pipe Bomb Recipe, Guerilla Upgrade Branch

1. Abby

The Last of Us 2 Remastered No Return Abby Gameplay 4K No Commentary

Most of No Return’s encounters focus on melee combat. Consequently, you’ll want to have Abby by your side. She specializes in close combat, thanks to her ability to gain extra health after any melee kill. That alone drastically shifts the scale in her favor, allowing her to survive longer through No Return’s gruesome challenges. 

Furthermore, you can upgrade any melee weapon using the Melee Upgrade Recipe trait. Gaining more health when enemies are killed by melee attacks and equipping more powerful melee weapons together should give you a better chance of recovering and dominating melee battles for a longer time. Since most close combat battles quickly turn into brawls, it’s also helpful to upgrade your brawling skills through the Brawler Upgrade Branch. 

You only need to sneak up on as many enemies as you can for silent melee kills to gain as much health as possible. Thereafter, maximize your health gained during brawls, especially in attacks where you fail to dodge successfully. If you can stock up on health and supplies in the early rounds, you should have an easier time getting through later challenges and boss fights.

Starting Weapons: Military Pistol, Hammer

Playstyle: Close Combat

Traits: Heal on Melee Kill, Melee Upgrade Recipe, Brawler Upgrade Branch

So, what’s your take? Do you agree with our best characters in The Last of Us Part II: No Return? Are there more characters we should know about? Let us know over on our socials here.

Evans I. Karanja is a freelance writer who loves to write about anything technology. He is always on the lookout for interesting topics, and enjoys writing about video games, cryptocurrency and blockchain and more. When not writing, he can be found playing video games or watching F1.